By Jane Keller Gordon, Contributing Writer
Westborough – On St. Patrick’s Day, two busloads of seniors traveled to the Westborough Public Library (WPL) from their home at The Highlands, an independent living retirement community in Westborough. En masse, they attended an opening reception for their fellow resident Sheila Granger, whose paintings — mostly watercolors — are on display at the WPL’s meeting room through Friday, April 15.
WPL Circulation Supervisor Mimi Cronin first met Granger at The Highlands during a weekly visit as part of the library’s “Home Delivery Service for Our Senior Citizens” program. The Highlands sent Cronin a thank you note on a card that had a picture of one of Granger’s paintings.
“Mimi said to me, ‘Sheila – we need you at the library.’ And, she told me to contact Ed Turner,” Granger said. As owner of the Art and Frame Emporium in Westborough, Turner helps connect area artists with monthly shows at the WPL.
Granger first stopped by Turner’s shop to have one of her pieces framed. Turner then paid her visit at the Highlands, and discovered that her room there was filled with art. Granger said that Turner’s response was “Magnificent. When can we do a show?”
Cronin said, “I am so happy for Sheila and happy that I could play a small part in getting her show scheduled.”
Art has always been part of Granger’s life, which began in Worcester, England.
“When I was 4, I would draw things that little children could not draw,” she said.
She eventually attended the Bingley Teacher Training College at Leeds University and became an elementary school teacher, which always included teaching art.
Granger moved to the United States in 1960 with her first husband, who was attending graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Later, as she raised her son and daughter, she continued to teach, this time at private schools in Massachusetts.
For 30 years she lived in Grafton with her second husband. She was the children’s librarian at the Grafton Public Library for 10 years until 1989, and a trustee for six years afterward.
Granger moved to the Highlands two years ago after having suffered serious injuries from a fall in 2011, and losing her husband in 2013.
“I like it there because I’m a sociable person,” she said.
She has taught painting at The Highlands, and is about to launch a class in basic drawing.
Most of the small-scale pieces at the WPL exhibit are done with watercolor, but there is also some mixed media, acrylic, and pen and ink.
“Her work is fun and colorful. She has quite a bit of talent,” Turner said.
Many of her paintings are based on photographs from places around the world. Granger has also displayed her art at the Northborough Art Guild, and in Grafton.
The majority of Granger’s paintings in the exhibit are priced between $45 and $75. The painting that Turner framed, “Cloud Song,” is priced at $425.
Granger was happy to report that she had sold five paintings during the opening reception.
Following the reception, she headed back to The Highlands feeling upbeat, and ready to lead “Sing Along with Sheila,” another joyful part of her life.
The WPL is open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.to 9 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.
Photos/Jane Keller Gordon